About Me

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I tell my story. I'm not here to sell a product, but to challenge people's thoughts to take better care of themselves. To validate those that are already doing this. To educate, to eradicate the mental health stigma, to influence those that need influencing and doing all of this with respect as each person has their own journey and we need to recognise that. I am vulnerable and raw. I have to be authentic. I am me. I have faults, I have made and continue to make mistakes, but I learn from those mistakes, I am me.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Reflecting on 2021

Grateful. Grateful is the word that probably best sums up my year.

I was very fortunate on a number of fronts throughout the year known as two thousand and twenty one.

I had a trip to Tassie booked in with The Resilience Builders to undertake The Overland trek however COVID got in the way just as the bags where packed. I missed out on a trip where others have lost loved ones. Perspective.

Instead of heading back to work for the week, I said to my boss that I want to take a weeks sick leave and drop my meds to see how it goes. His reply, words to the effect of, "Yeh mate, no probs, let me know if you need two weeks". Elite leadership right there.

So I dropped my meds, I have posted about this in the past but overall it has been a success. Some rocky times, some downright horrible nights but pleased that I made that decision. When you have a super supportive and protective family, friends and colleagues, these decisions are made so much easier.

Grateful for all of those that have supported and continue to support me throughout these periods.

I was again incredibly fortunate enough to be hosted by Tiff Cook on her podcast, Roll with the Punches for the second time where we had a good chat about suicidal thoughts and how the thought, "thoughts are not facts" was super helpful. If you want to have a listen, check it out (https://www.tiffaneeandco.com.au/podcast/episode/ae257e4b/ep176-the-thoughts-we-dont-talk-about-or-sergeant-mark-thomas).

Grateful that I have Tiff in my tribe. A remarkable woman who makes me (and a stack of other people) better.

I was hosted by the awesome Alison Wright and Paul Fitzgerald on the SES Mindfit Podcast (https://vicsesmindfit.podbean.com/e/vicses-mindfit-ep-10-are-you-triple-ok-mark-thomas). Really enjoyed this chat where we covered a whole range of topics of my lived experience and also The Code 9 Foundation.

Grateful that Alison and Paul invited me onto their podcast. Having the opportunity to tell my story to the SES community was an honour.

I was also hosted by Jenna-Louise Salkeld on her podcast, To Be Human. Another awesome chat with a person who is so chocked full of empathy and enthusiasm, it is just plain fun. (https://open.spotify.com/episode/54UJLuvUgMq3k7PSEYUHxH?si=cQWeu1vWRe6ZfN9Fy_yuFg)

Grateful that Jenna reached out to me. I can scream from the rooftops telling my story but when people like Jenna give me a platform to chat and spread the message, incredibly powerful.

Moniquea Spiteri hosted me on her podcast, Transcending Trauma, for a chat about my journey. I feel so grateful that Moniquea and the other amazing humans doing wide reaching podcasts deem me worthy for their time and effort. Loved this chat with Mon. (https://open.spotify.com/episode/0pgfbEwtkJrwB6mcpFTjpa?si=K9SpwsT-TV-c1Ll3x8IhNQ)

The foundation continued to grow and evolve. We were able to supply hundreds of meals to those in need, send members away on respite weekends, provide house and garden maintenance and provide a crucial online forum where members sought out and obtained advice and support. We also sponsored our second assistance dog via Assistance Dogs Australia. The committee members led by Rob decided the gorgeous black Labrador be named, "Junior" which is one of my nicknames. Humbled, you betcha.

I was invited to sit on a panel discussion at The Chamberlain Foundation's annual fundraiser lunch by Ray Chamberlain. What a brilliant day that was in among some real good people talking all things mental health. Cheers for an awesome day Ray!!

I got a new psych and no disrespect to my former treater, I needed new ears to chat to, new thoughts and ideas to bounce off, fresh advice to obtain and it worked a treat. Perhaps one of if not the best decision I made for the entire year, it has been a game changer with some deep seated trauma (that I had thought had been dealt with) sprung out and being dealt with. I only got onto this psych on the recommendation of Tristan Rose, an incredible person who I would never have met if I wasn't on this journey. On a side, Tristan and his partner, Keely are expecting their first child in the new year and was genuinely happy for them. Good things happen to good people.

I was introduced to and learnt some chi gong under the guidance of Ross Walker. He didn't have to do it but took me in to teach me some real good stuff to help me. Another bloke who has had a tremendous impact on me and another I would never have met. Ross is now living an awesome life trekking around in a big fuck off 4WD and trailer/caravan style set up. Again, good things happen to good people.

I launched a Facebook page to hopefully get further reach. It has been fun posting pure mental health messages knowing that I am reaching people. I am very aware that not everyone can tell their stories for a variety of reasons which I absolutely validate so I really see if as my duty to get awareness and education out there to help those that are in darkness. (https://www.facebook.com/aftericemelts)

Equally, I re-jigged my website which is a nice hobby to have and provides a vehicle to get messaging out there.

I gave multiple talks to various work units within Victoria Police which is always a fun thing to do. What has been really cool is the amount of questions that come from the audiences. This to me tells me that they are wanting to listen to and learn from my story, not me personally, but a mental health story to help educate themselves. Seriously rewarding stuff.

Bloody good year that.

Lots of great times, a few real bad days and a couple of truly horrible nights but looking forward to see what 2022 brings.

Thanks to you all who have supported, commented, chatted, listened to and mingled with me - grateful to you all.

Be well.

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